Francisco Seco/Associated Press
Marseille and Atletico Madrid will face off in the final of the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League on Wednesday at the Groupama Stadium near Lyon, France.
For Marseille, it will only be a short trip across France, but that advantage has not made them favourites with the oddsmakers.
Here’s a look at the latest numbers, courtesy of Oddschecker.com:
Draw (after 90 minutes): 13-5
Marseille flopped in their dress rehearsal over the weekend, as Guingamp held them to a 3-3 draw in Ligue 1. It was yet another example of the team’s tendency to let in goals easily, and if that pattern follows, we could be in for an exciting final.
Atletico fared much better, securing second place in La Liga with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Gefate. It was a typical performance from the Rojiblancos, who didn’t exactly inspire neutral fans:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Doing my best here with Getafe v Atletico, but does seem Seville-derby possibly a more exciting game.
Manager Diego Simeone is known for his defensive, no-nonsense approach that has served his side well for years now. Atletico don’t concede many and have enough attacking quality to grind out difficult wins.
The Rojiblancos have conceded just 20 goals in La Liga this season, even less than champions Barcelona. In the same amount of matches in La Liga, Marseille have let in more than double the amount, with 46.
But Les Olympiens have scoring potential in their ranks, and it’s not all coming from an ace striker. Rather, their wingers and midfielders do damage with timely runs into the box. Their top scorers in Europe are Lucas Ocampos, Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin.
Per sportswriter Mohammed Ali, the form of Payet and Thauvin has been so good they both could be headed for the World Cup ahead of some big names:
Mohammed Ali @mohammedali_93
RMC: France squad for World Cup to be named in 7 days – Rami (OM) should replace Koscielny – Thauvin in + Dembélé (Coman out?) – Payet should be there ahead of Lemar (Martial out?) – MFs: Pogba, Matuidi, Tolisso, Kanté + Rabiot – Pavard or Debuchy for RB https://t.co/kxipeh7afJ
They’ll go up against a talented defensive unit and arguably the most in-form goalkeeper in the world right now.
Jan Oblak added to his brilliant campaign during the weekend, saving a penalty to secure the three points against Getafe.
The stats behind his shot-stopping ability from the spot are something else:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Jan Oblak has saved more penalties (7) than he has conceded (5) for Atlético Madrid across all competitions. One of the best around. 👐 https://t.co/sIbnIGMxuq
Atletico have a tendency to get swept up by the emotions in big matches if things don’t go their way early. A fast start is crucial for Marseille―once the Rojiblancos settle in and start playing their game, they’re almost impossible to beat.
Prediction: Marseille’s productive forwards find a way past the Atletico wall, but it’s not enough. Marseille 1-2 Atletico